Understanding Bible Prophecy

The Bible is loaded with prophecies. Many were about Jesus’ first coming and all of those have been fulfilled already. The only ones that haven’t happened yet are the ones about the end times and what happens after.

You have to be careful when you try to understand prophecy that you’re really listening to what the bible is actually saying and not what you want it to say.

The Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus day had this problem. The Roman government ruled over them and they didn’t like it one bit. The Old Testament often mentioned a Messiah who would come and set up a kingdom. Since they wanted nothing more than to get rid of the Romans, they quickly interpreted that to mean an earthly kingdom. They were waiting for a ruler who would overthrow the existing government and they would be a free, independent nation again.

When Jesus came, he talked about a kingdom but he was referring to a heavenly kingdom – not an earthly one. Here is a verse about that.

John 18: 36-37 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to  prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”  “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

John the Baptist also says that the kingdom is near, but he says “for the kingdom of heaven is near.” It wasn’t an earthly kingdom that Jesus came to set up.

Matthew 3: 1-2 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Even though Jesus fulfilled every prophecy about his first coming, they would not accept him. They had their hearts set on an earthly king. They ignored all his miracles, his wisdom and all the other evidence to prove he was the Messiah. Here is a list of some of the prophecies of the coming Messiah and Jesus fulfilled them.

He would be from the line of Abraham, Isaac and David, etc.

During his childhood he lived in Egypt and it was prophesied he would be called out of Egypt.

He would be born in Bethlehem.

He would teach in parables.

He would preach in Galilee.

The blind would see. The deaf would hear. (Fulfilling that one alone should make people take notice.)

Jesus would have a forerunner; a voice of one crying in the wilderness, John the Baptist.

He would be despised and rejected.

Jerusalem would rejoice as their king would come riding on a donkey.

He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.

None of his bones would be broken.

The Messiah would be lifted up (die on a cross).

His hands and feet would be pierced.

They would cast lots for his clothing.

He would be mocked and abused.

These are only a few of the prophesies. The religious leaders of those days saw with their own eyes most of these things happening and they could have checked out most of the others, yet they refused to believe. Why? Because they had their minds made up that he would be an earthly king and the Romans wouldn’t rule over them anymore. That didn’t happen, so they refused to accept him as the Messiah.

They had the real-life Messiah standing right in front of them. He was even doing miracles and they still wouldn’t believe. His death happened, with all the little details, just as prophesied. Nope. They weren’t having it. Their stubbornness is unbelievable.

I’ve been studying the prophecies of the end times and I have my ideas of how things are going to play out, but I’m humble enough to know that I’m going to be wrong on some of it or maybe even a lot of it. If the religious leaders in Jesus days got it wrong and if the religious leaders of today who have dedicated their lives to studying the bible, can’t agree on things; I’m keeping my mind open to the possibility I’ll be wrong too.

If things don’t happen the way I’m expecting, I’ll go back to the scriptures and read it again with fresh eyes and a heart open to God’s truth – even if it’s not what I want to hear. We can depend on the bible. It is God’s word.

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